Hawaii’s Most Beautiful Eruption Recently

Forty-eight years ago today, a fissure opened in the ground, and the  Kilauea Iki eruption begain.

Here is a video and narrated record of that eruption.

h/t to USGS tweeting for the link and video.


Thoughts on Global Warming

This isn’t going to be simplistic, pro or con political statement on “climate change.”

I used to see global warming simplistically, but my views kept changing as I learned more.

  1. Heard about global warming back in the 70s or 80s and how runaway greenhouse effect would turn planet into a Venus twin. Scary!
  2. Headlines dried up and I forgot about it because the modern culture is full of “shiny things,” basically.
  3. From roughly 90s on reminded about global warming and caught emphasis on rising sea level – very concerning!
  4. Offput when it became a political issue, but still concerned.
  5. While first researching book, learned that Earth has been much warmer in the past with much higher CO2 (but no “Venus effect”), and wondered what the big concern today is.
  6. Offput by scientists speaking politically (not in their discipline but in a public pulpit) about an issue they created called “climate skepticism” or “climate denial.” Seriously, people – that’s being human, not sciencing. Don’t prove Chesterton was right when he said that scientists are the most sentimental people around.
  7. Came across paradoxical information that made me think seriously about long-term global climate change for the first time – info like Earth’s possibly cooling during a high-CO2 time during the middle Miocene epoch, or a huge injection of greenhouse gases around the Paleocene-Eocene border that killed all life on the planet Earth handled very well actually; some global heating but no runaway greenhouse effect; cooling back down to the previous baseline (warmer and with more CO2 than today).
  8. I read this sentence: “It is clear from the geologic record that natural thermostats existed to maintain warm climates, as they must to maintain cold climates.” (Lyle and others) So Earth has a switchable “thermostat” and we don’t know much about it – scary!
  9. Learned more about the ice ages that began (for unknown reasons) around 2.5 million years ago and wondered why everybody is upset about global warming that may break this freezing cycle, which has been intensifying with each ice age.
  10. Then learned that Homo sapiens is a child of the ice-age-cycle world and suddenly understood the real issue with global warming: no one knows if we can live on this planet under any other “thermostat” setting.

As a species, we do have the technology, wealth, and social responsibility to handle a major sea-level rise of hundreds of feet and the resulting displacements and other problems.

Whether or not we also have the will to act against a slow process like this – in human terms, it’s slow – remains to be seen.

Here’s the truly unknown factor:

Continue reading Thoughts on Global Warming

Handling the Hollywood Abuse Scandals

Correction, October 31, 2017:  I am really glad to correct one thing in the post below: Andy Signore wasn’t Epic Voice Guy.  That’s Jon Bailey, and he’s still epic. Latest Honest Trailer posted today: Spiderman Homecoming.

Andy Signore – the disgraced guy – was a founder, but obviously I don’t know much about the Screen Junkies YouTube setup yet.  Sorry to Jon Bailey, corrections are made below, and I am looking forward to getting to know Screen Junkies better on YouTube!

I do indeed like how they are handling this challenge.


I’m a political animal, like every other human being. I’ve tried at various points over the last sixty-three years to be political, too, but finally gave it up after realizing that: (a) politics is corrupt all around; and (b) there are a few effective people in there, with strong stomachs, doing the best they can.

I couldn’t possibly do their job, so I just stick with voting.

But the Weinstein scandals are different. Abuse is not political, as I know from personal experience (which I’m not yet ready to discuss publicly as I still need to lawyer up and put together a team of investigators to get evidence that will stand up to the legal firestorm that’s a part of challenging rich crazy people who have connections).

Weinstein himself? Meh. I have read that Miramax sat on the Chinese masterpiece Hero until Quentin Tarantino forced its release. Screw Miramax.

But I just learned that one of my favorite internet personalities has been disgraced, too. I didn’t know his name and just though of him as Epic Voice Guy from Honest Trailers.

Then I saw a new Screen Junkies video on YouTube last night and checked it out. It blew me away, but I want to talk about it a little bit because this is absolutely the right way to deal with these scandals.

To an Olde Fartess like me, these are very young people, and this scandal business feels very much like a passing of leadership to a new generation. Things like this alway involves ways to deal with Evil.

And. Screen Junkies. Nailed. It. Well done!

Talk is so difficult yet so essential.

There are dangers in this approach, though.

The biggest danger is that a whole bunch of people are losing everything simply because somebody has accused them of something heinous.

With abuse, there isn’t much else you can do – believe me, I know. And probably the really big fish are getting just what they thought they would forever be immune to, precisely because they were so careless, blatant, and “everybody does it” about the abuse. Let’s not forget that little fish are in this, too.

By the way, that’s the second big problem: everybody does it.

Before I learned about his firing, I heard that unmistakeable Epic Voice in an unrelated commercial a day or two ago. I figured then that Honest Trailers was just branching out. Actually, it sounds like Epic Voice Guy has a new job.

What remains to be seen is whether he [Andy Signore] has landed on his feet and is starting a new and better life or whether he has just used his connections to find a job until this feeding frenzy is over and he can get back to The Things Everybody Does.

The Weinstein scandals do have a strong element of feeding frenzy. That’s the third problem.

There is hunger-to-hurt galore out there right now. It comes with abuse situations.

One of the hardest things for any abusee to face is the internal factor that makes you tolerate the abuse because in such a relationship you can act like an A-hole, too.

When the abuse-cycle stage of “original abuser down” arrives, it’s your turn and you deal out the abuse. In spite of all your own suffering, because it’s payback.

Facing the fact that being abused does not give you the right to be an abuser ever – not even when nobody will listen to you and you’re all alone – is a part of freeing yourself from the cycle; believe me, I know how hard it is.

Well, right now our culture is at a very public “original abuser down” scene, and nobody’s wearing white or black hats to identify which side is good and which is bad. Instead, there is a cacophony of claims, counterclaims, and media coverage.

I suspect that the really blatant abusers are getting their earned comeuppance, simply from peer pressure: no proof is needed because they were so hoggish about it.

That still leaves a lot of other accused people. Who, under our excellent legal system, do not have to prove their innocence: those who accuse them must prove their guilt.

Overall, this system works very well for abusees, too, because in this country, unlike some others in the world, victims don’t have to hide – their attackers do.

But it also means that you, as an abusee, must bring charges and go through the whole legal meatgrinder, which is really hell on an abusee. Believe me, I’m not looking forward to it when my own time comes, but I’m going to do it because I’m helping not only myself but many other women in similar situations who aren’t as tough as me.

If humanity didn’t have this strange castle-storming capability (buried very deeply, it’s true), we’d have gone extinct long ago.

The legal system isn’t perfect, but it’s set up in such a way that some kind of justice is available to everybody, not just the ones on top. Justice isn’t easy, but here in the US more people can hope for it than they can anywhere else in the world.

This isn’t chauvinism – it’s an obvious fact of life. Thank you, Founders, for understanding the complexities of human existence.

And this brings us to the last of the really big risks in doing the right thing with these Hollywood scandals: blowback.

There are lots of examples from the last couple of decades about a “revolution” that everybody on the Net got excited about and then forgot. Who ultimately benefited?

The original top dogs.

Again, abuse isn’t political, but this revolution against abusers can easily go down the same memory hole because people in general are very uncomfortable about recognizing abuse and talking about it.

What will enablers and abusers do when the latest dirty “brand” name has faded from public view? When there’s no such thing as Weinstein scandals any more, just business as usual.

Let’s just say that in their eyes – remember, they’re still trapped in the abuse cycle – they’ve been abused and now their “abusers” are down. It’s walin’ time.

Fortunately, nowadays – though, I risk sounding like a Cranky Old Person From Another Time (COPFAT) saying this – there is a new approach on the table that can help people break out of this cycle.

The Screen Junkies video shows it in action. Don’t flinch from the truth – embrace it, and work through the darker parts.

I want to see this work out, and in the longer term, I want to see young people do better than we Boomers did when facing down Evil, so I’m writing this post now.

Young people, get something good and strong for your base. Hold onto it no matter what, and do the right thing.

Everybody will hate you out loud, but inside you’d be surprised at how many people admire you for doing it (you’re giving them hope for their own future).

Whatever you do to stop Evil always does make a difference – this is especially true when the bad guys are hollering at you, telling you what a screwup you are and how nothing ever changes.

Things do change, all the time, for better or worse.

Get an objectively good support – say, a tree, if you’re a character in a G. K. Chesterton novel – and nobody can ever really put you down, even if they do occasionally succeed in taking you down.

When you’re knocked down, just get up again.

Over and over and over. It really disheartens the bad guys.

Don’t hurt others, don’t get mad (this has helped me, though it’s incredibly difficult), and keep on fighting the good fight until you die. It’s worth it and not just because some good things will happen to you along the way, if you try to be good.

Meanwhile, this Olde Fartess is cheering you on from the wings.

Peaceful Moments:  Wild Scotland

To fly, just keep flinging yourself at the ground and missing.

— Douglas Adams, paraphrased

Meanwhile, farther inland – away from the North Atlantic’s stony afterbirth – two voices of a wildcat that is no bigger than a housecat were heard, calling to one another across the Highland hills:
…[H]ow’s this for a word portrait, as drawn by David Stephen:

“Behold the Scottish tiger – Felis Sylvestris Grampia! See him padding high across a wild scree in the slanting morning light, big-fisted, wide-eared, long of limb and tusk, with ringed club-tail, and you’ve seen one of the lords of life: a cateran of fire and brimstone, implacably savage, reputedly untameable…

“You’ll hear the treason whispered that there’s no such animal. For shame. English red squirrels we have; even English ways. And Swedish capercaillies. And Japanese deer. And Norman, ex-Spanish rabbits. Our grey squirrel is an American. But the wildcat is our own – and real. Hark to the wild pibroch of him, as he stalks through the gloom of the corrie when the moon is riding high. This is the devil’s black laughter: hiss and crackle, scream and sob. The wildcat’s skelloch is of the lonely places, of mountain and high forest. Beside him the caterwauling alley cat is a cartoon clown.”

I haven’t met a wildcat out in the wild for about ten years now, when I met two within the space of a few months, one in a quiet backwater of Glen Dochart in broad daylight, the other in the dark at Balquhidder. The Glen Dochart one was a blur on a single-track back road as I cycled towards Killin. There were pieces of rabbit on the road and a splash of blood. I watched cat and rabbit corpse thread a path uphill through bracken and rocks. A hundred yards up the hill the cat stopped, dropped the rabbit, turned to stare back down at me, looked around in every direction, resettled the rabbit into its jaws and disappeared into the hillside. I waited and waited, and eventually saw it again much higher and much further west, and as far as I could see the rabbit was missing.

At Balquhidder, I was out for a late evening walk down to the River Balvaig on a night of deep winter and a million stars. I had been walking for about ten minutes when I heard the eeriest sound of the Highland night, not the hiss or the crackle or scream of a wildcat, but what David Stephen called the sob.

“Mau,” it said, and the voice was deep and throaty and velvety. I shivered inside my warmest jacket. Then from much further to my right, a second voice:


I simply stood dead still. If they had my scent, and quite possibly the sight of me too (for their night eyes are as good as yours and mine in sunlight), the best I could do was not give them sound or movement to work with.

There were two more monosyllabic exchanges, then silence. I stood until I was too cold for my own comfort, and decided I could do no more. But I was back there in the early morning . . .